By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Founded in1910, Immaculate Conception School (ICS) is steeped in history and traditions. One of its most popular events is Grandparents Day, which began in 1984. This year, 175 grandparents of students in preschool through fifth grade gathered May 3. Activities with the special guests in each classroom ranged from games to arts and crafts.
Among this year's guests were Carol and Eugene Mauro, who visited their twin grandsons, fourth-graders Nathan and Thomas Crisafulli. Another grandson, Owen, is an ICS seventh-grader. Carol and Eugene now reside on Cape Cod and look forward to Grandparents Day, where they can also see other family members. Third-grade teacher Martha Mauro is their daughter-in-law; married to their son, Dan, an ICS alum.
This was the 13th time Carol and Eugene visited for Grandparents Day as guests of seven grandchildren. Their nine children also attended ICS.
Carol has as many firsthand memories of ICS as her children and grandchildren because she taught fourth grade there from 1972 through “79. At the time, the principal and about half of the teachers were Sisters of St. Joseph.
“It was wonderful working with the sisters,” Carol said. “The principal, who was a sister, would give us a whole day off to go do our Christmas shopping. She, and most of us teachers, knew the name of every single student in the school.”
Carol enjoyed the amicable working relationship between the nuns and the lay teachers.
“We had faculty meetings once a month and the food was great,” she recalled. “One time at a faculty meeting, we were talking about recipes for pecan pie. So the next meeting, everybody baked pecan pies and we handed them out. We did our work, but we also had a lot of fun along the way.”
However, there was no Grandparents Day back then.
“Very few people came into the school then,” Carol said. “We sometimes had parents come in to help out by running the mimeograph machines and doing recess duty in the yard. People came only at appointed times; our classrooms were almost sacred. I can's remember a single time we saw a grandparent in the school.”
Chairing Grandparents Day for the fifth year was Sandra Crisafulli, daughter of Carol and Eugene, and mother of the grandsons, Nathan, Thomas and Owen.
“I love seeing the grandparents come in with their cameras,” Sandra said. “It's a lot of work preparing for it, but the actual day is a lot of fun.”
Sandra appreciated attending ICS.
“I liked the smallness of the school and I made good friends,” she said. “I made a friend in first grade who is still my best friend. There are definitely lasting relationships from this school.”
She also appreciates the feeling of extended family among the students” families.
“It's a great, close-knit group of friends,” she said. “We all support each other and help raise each other's kids. And my kids have great bonds with their friends.”
After graduating from ICS, Sandra attended Hudson Catholic High School, as did five of her siblings. She's glad her sons are comfortable at ICS.
“They'se getting a great education and I like the religion part of it,” she said. “They know they go to a Catholic, private school, and they think that's something special. ?I don's know where they'sl end up in high school, but they'se certainly comfortable here. It's definitely the right environment for them.”
Perhaps someday in the future, Sandra's boys will have children attending ICS and invite her to Grandparents Day.
“I hope so!” she said with a laugh. “I can sit back and relax.”